Jacques Vallée Claims to Have Proof CIA Faked Alien Abductions as "Psychological Warfare," Refuses to Let Anyone See It
A few months ago, Jacques Vallée, the longtime UFO researcher and scientific advisor to space-demon-hunting billionaire Robert Bigelow, published the fourth volume of his diaries, Forbidden Science, covering the 1990s. In that book, Vallée made the shocking allegation that the CIA staged fake alien abductions in Latin America and that there were documents that supported the allegation: “I have secured a document confirming that the CIA simulated UFO abductions in Latin America (Brazil and Argentina) as psychological warfare experiments.” Vallée did not provide support for the dramatic assertion in Forbidden Science, which prompted Jack Brewer of The UFO Trail blog to ask him for his evidence. The answer was… exactly what you’d expect: a mixture of arrogance, incuriosity, and buck-passing in place of actual proof.
When asked directly to provide evidence to support the assertion, Vallée replied with this nonsense:
I am not an expert in any of it, but my computer surveys tend to go TILT! when some relevant cases come up. So I don’t have a dog in the political fight, I’m just trying to avoid polluting my databases with garbage. That’s why I felt a duty to call attention to the issue. If you talk to serious researchers in Latin America, you will find they are not as naive in this field as US ufologists.
Nothing in that response had any relevance to the question, and kudos to Brewer for pushing back on Vallée’s Continental curlicue of rhetorical avoidance. While Brewer is much more deferential to Vallée’s perceived status as an elder statesman of paranoid paranormal studies than I would ever be, he did manage to ruffle the old man’s feathers by asking him for proof. Vallée’s response on Thursday was the kind of deflection popular with politicians who want to avoid committing to a position:
I don’t have any further comments on the substance of the request or, obviously, about my source which I am obligated to protect. […] Most of the documents I have referred to, or used in the compilation of my diaries, have been donated to a University with a 10-year embargo on access — specifically to avoid the kind of spurious quarrels that erupt in ufology on a regular basis. So I expect that historical details like these will see the light of day in due course.
Just consider for a moment the sheer disingenuousness of this statement. Government documents are public records, so if Vallée has one, the only way he would be obliged to protect it is if the document were classified and he received if via an illegal leak, in which case he should not be providing illegal documents to a university. Or, worse, he could be using the word “document” to hide the fact that he is not using actual U.S. government documents but rather news reports, paranoid screeds, or any other scraps of paper from Latin America. (The document might be a Latin American government report, but this seems unlikely given that it is reporting on two countries who were hostile to one another until the 1980s.) Second, since his original statement was made in the 1990s, any documents must have been in his possession at least 20 years, meaning that he is using the 10-year embargo—which he himself chose—in order to avoid the need to provide evidence for his claims. He has withheld potentially explosive evidence for 30 years or more (!) while personally benefited from pretending to be the only mediator between the evidence and the public.
Vallée need not “expect” mere “details” to be public “in due course.” He could release the documents right now if he so chose, or he could tell us what the documents are so that they could be obtained directly from the relevant government agencies, or so they could be revealed to be random noise from midcentury ufologists. Indeed, the CIA’s publicly released UFO files find Spanish-language newspaper reports cataloging conspiracy theories about the CIA’s activities in Latin America.
Vallée’s assertion is not entirely ridiculous on the surface, and it would go a long way toward demonstrating that many of the elements of modern ufology are not the semi-supernatural occurrences of popular depiction. His refusal to provide the proof that at least some space aliens aren’t from outer space is bizarre given that elements of his claims are already available in public records. The CIA’s own documents, available online, record that in the early 1950s, Walter Bedell Smith, the Director of Central Intelligence, asked how to use “the UFO phenomenon in connection with US psychological warfare efforts,” a directive recorded in a contemporary memorandum in 1952.
Anyway, Vallée has a long track record of accepting dubious claims, questionable evidence, and hoaxes as data in his grand but often incoherent models of UFOs as an interdimensional paranormal phenomenon. He also has longstanding relationships with Robert Bigelow and the members of To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science, all of whom suckle at the government teat as recipients of Defense Department largesse, and the latter claiming also to have secret information from intelligence agencies like the CIA. The real question is this: What is he hiding, and why doesn’t he want us to see it?
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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